Headline RoundupAugust 4th, 2022

Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s Death Places Spotlight on US Foreign Policy

AllSides Summary

The death of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has spurred an array of perspectives on the current state of U.S. foreign policy.

Al-Zawahiri, who was believed to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, was killed on Saturday night in a U.S. drone strike attack in Afghanistan. The majority of perspectives on the attack noted that al-Zawahiri's death elicited "bipartisan" global praise but "doesn’t obviate" the terrorism threat from Afghanistan. Some reports highlighted how the drone strike gave Biden a "rare political win" ahead of November's midterm elections, while other argued that al Qaeda's ability to operate more freely signifies a much "broader strategic loss." 

Several outlets also highlighted how the al-Zawahiri killing reignited the debate around Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan just ahead of the event's first anniversary. One analysis published in the New York Times (Lean Left bias) noted that the strike on al-Zawahiri demonstrated how the U.S. still has the "ability to take out threats" in Afghanistan without having to keep thousands of American troops stationed in the Middle East. Other outlets such as the Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) accentuated skeptics who argued that taking out Zawahri doesn't mean that "the threat is ended" or that U.S. intelligence has "visibility into all threats" in the Middle East. The Conversation (Lean Left bias) and other outlets used the anniversary to report on the "ongoing war on human rights" and the "oppression" of women that has exacerbated since the U.S. departed.

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